what is licensure and certification?

"Licensure" is the umbrella for two-year process of earning and maintaining your teaching license in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Depending on the subject you are assigned to teach, you will earn certification in the following age/grade ranges:

  • Early Childhood Education: From Pre K - Kindergarten (ages 3-5)*
  • Elementary: From 1st grade through 6th grade
  • Middle School (General Science, English, Math): From 5th grade through 8th grade
  • High School (English, Biology, Chemistry, Math): From 9th grade -12th grade
  • Diverse Learners: From 1st grade to 12th grade**

What license(s) will you earn?

If you teach in Illinois

  • By August 2018 you will hold your Educator License with Stipulations (ELS). This is a temporary license that allows you to teach (with all the same privileges as a traditionally certified teacher) while you complete your University Partner coursework. It is valid for two years and is not renewable.
  • By August 2020 you will hold your Professional Educators License (PEL). This is the official teaching license of Illinois, it is valid for 5 years and renewable.

If you teach in Indiana

  • By September 2018 you will hold your Transition To Teach license (T2T). This is a temporary license that allows you to teach (with all the same privileges as a traditionally certified teacher) while you complete your University Partner coursework. It is valid for three years and is not renewable.
  • By November 2019 you will hold your Initial Practitioners license. This is the first, of two, official teaching licenses in Indiana. It is valid for two years and can be converted (should you choose) to the official 5 year teaching license (the Proficient Practitioners license).

What does this process entail?

Licensure and certification happens in "5 phases." How long you engage with each of these phases depends on when you confirmed your offer to join the corps. See below for a "birds-eye" look at what to expect:

Phase 1: Introduction to Systems (1-3 weeks after confirming offer)

  • Familiarize yourself with the licensure hub, testing guides and onboarding webinars.
  • Identify which exams you need to take

Phase 2: Test Prep (1-2 months after confirming your offer)

  • Register (and study) for your licensure exams.

Phase 3: Preparing for Certification (1-3 months before Summer Training)

  • All exams are past, test scores are sent to Illinois/Indiana.
  • You learn what your University Partner will need to entitle your license. 

Phase 4: Preliminary Certification (June-August 2018)

  • All exams are passed. 
  • All requirements for your University Partners are met.
  • Your ELS or T2T is entitled by your University Partner. 


*While the ECE license is allows you to teach grades Pre K - grade 3 you will only be eligible to be hired in classrooms serving students ages 3-5, and in some instances Kindergarten.

**Your Diverse Learning license allows you to teach ages 5-21, however, you will know in advance of being hired whether or not you will teach in a Elementary (grades 1-8) or High School (grades 9-12) setting.

Pursuing licensure in Indiana vs. Illinois 

Both Illinois and Indiana have strict alternative certification licensing landscapes. However, in Illinois the timeline is much more rigid around test passage and licensure entitlement. As a result, we work to prepare everyone for certification in Illinois first (so that no doors close on your opportunity to teach). If you are hired in Northwest Indiana (after taking initial steps to prepare for licensure in Illinois) we will reimburse you for 100% of any licensure costs assumed and set you up with a reasonable timeline to complete all Indiana licensure next steps. If you already know that you will be teaching in Northwest Indiana, either because you were assigned to teach their prior to confirming your offer or you have been accepted to the pilot, please click the button below to learn about your licensing process: